If you're looking for your first Digital Camcorder and want decent quality. Here's one to seriously Consider!
I needed a Camcorder that was useful for Work and Home!
The TRV-255E is a 0 lux (no light needed at all), Night-Vision (Infra-Red) equipped unit. You also have a built in 3-LED light which is good to about 12ft.
The Standard Nightshot Plus System uses any ambient light available and Boosts it up.
The IR System which works with Nightshot Plus gives you that Green "Most Haunted" view but enables you to see objects/people clearly up to 8ft away in Pitch Black.I've done Patrols in a pitch black Warehouse just using this function (I had to test it!!) and was amazed!
You have a 20x Optical Zoom from the 2.5 - 50mm Lens and an additional 990x Zoom with a Digital Based Zoom.
Now this does have its uses as I've filmed "Footage" from 20 meters away and had a crystal clear image that has been Confirmed by Police as usable footage.
You have the standard Sony SteadyShot Function which is very handy for those situations where you're moving around while filming or filming things moving at High speeds (ie F-15 Eagles doing a Flypast at an Airshow).
You have the Sony EasyCam function this will do everything for you from setting the colour & sound input to its optimum for the best you can get.
You also have a rather funny function that enables you to take a "Snapshot" Image. This freezes the picture for 5 seconds but still records sound in that time! So you can get a picture of someones face but still hear them talking away!
The only drawback in my opinion is that the main function buttons for the playback are behind the LCD screen,
so while they can't get pressed by accident you have to open the screen everytime you want to start or stop the playback
it does get tedious.
The Menu Functions enable you to have some fun with generating Titles, Adding Messages (IE Happy Birthday) and
Adjust Exposure.There is also a built in speaker behind the LCD Screen.
The Camcorder records onto a Digital 8 Formatted tape which is Similar to Hi-8 but with better Visual & Audio quality.
You can stream your recorded footage straight onto your PC to edit it (Via USB/Firewire) or plug it into your VCR through a 3 plug (Stereo Left,Right plugs and Video plug)adaptor to instantly record it to VHS, into your DVD-Recorder via USB/Firewire/VHS-C plugs or straight into your TV with the VHS-C/3 Plug adaptor. The cassettes are on average a 60min tape (90min on Long Play) which isn't bad for those long shoots. (Still best to have spare tapes)
The Viewfinder is almost the same as you would expect on any other Camcorder unit.
You also have a 2.5" Colour LCD screen (this is a TFT Screen so you can see the image from any angle)
The Screen folds out, Flips over (about 270 degrees) and even folds back on itself so it's flush with the body and you can see what you're recording in Colour in Real Time.
The Buttons for Off,Camera and Play/Edit are located on a sliding switch by your thumb (The Camcorder is held in your
Right Hand but Menu Functions accessed from the left!)
The record button is just next to this slider so as you hold the Camcorder so you can stop/start recording as easily
as moving your thumb.
There is a menu for Functions for use while recording or even setting it up, this is clear & easy to read, it's only displayed on the LCD screen though.
The Camcorder will also Function as a Webcam with a Microphone. (Connection Via USB)
The Battery that you get with the Camcorder is an InfoLITHIUM Cell which you can Query from the Camcorder to find out
the exact charge remaining and very optimistic time remaining!
The Battery doesn't charge if you have the mains charger plugged in and use it at the same time.
Despite it being a "Highly Delicate piece of Camera Equipment" (As one Sony Engineer I knew told me) this is an extremely
Robust and strong unit. My Daughters have played with it and I've had it bouncing all over the place in the boot of
my car when I was Off-Roading. I'd forgotten it was there.
There is also Software included for your PC. This is called "Picture Package" it has all the Drivers and Programs.
This allows you to edit the footage, add music for a background track or to Compile your own Music CD/DVD, Direct Burn
is available from the Camcorder Unit AND through the "Picture Package".
Windows ME, Windows XP HE or Windows XP Pro.
Intel Pentium III 500 MHz or better
DirectX 9.0b or more recent version
Windows Media Player 7.0 or newer one. (WMP Version 10 available through Windows Update)
Memory: 64 MB or more
Hard Disk: 250 MB or more
USB port, i.LINK (Needs an i.LINK cable),
CD drive with CD-R drive to create a Video-CD or a DVD-R Drive for Home made DVDs
In the Box you get.
1 x Sony Handycam DCR-TRV255E Camcorder.
1 x InfoLITHIUM NP-FM30 Battery.
This is only a 7.2V 5.0Wh Battery so don't expect the greatest performance. It will last about 100 minutes at best.
1 x Lens Cap.
Not a bad idea having a lens cap but it's not the best at staying where it should be!
1 x Shoulder Strap.
Very nice to have but it only attaches at the battery end of the camcorder and tends to get in the way a bit while filming.
1 x Picture Package CD-Rom.
Very Easy to use and fun to play with.
1 x Mains Charger.
Otherwise we'd be stuck!
1 x USB Cable.
Roughly a Meter long you have to stay close while connected.
1 x A/V cable.
This is the Important Connection for the VCR/TV/DVD-R.
The DCR-TRV255E is available from £100 on E-Bay up to £400 elsewhere.
You can look at Digital 8 Tapes from about £6 each.
Replacement Batteries from £25 upwards.